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Re: orion-list Pliny Qumran analysis

Stephen Goranson writes:

>   Marcus Agrippa is the first source listed for Pliny's book 5. Pliny
>  (a Roman army veteran) wrote that he prefered to use authors who have been
>  in the area. <snip>  M.
>  Agrippa was in the area, a guest of Herod the Great. Many of Pliny's other
>  listed sources can be excluded, either because they lived at the wrong time
>  to mention Essenes (in Herodian Judaea, as this text does), or because they
>  were not in the area, or both. 
    Stephen omits to mention that M. Agrippa is listed as a prominent source 
for _all_ of Pliny's books 3-6 on geography:  fourth in book 3, third in book 
4, first in both books 5 and 6.  In all four books, the table of contents 
lists "dimensions."  In all citations of M. Agrippa found in Pliny (namely NH 
3.8, 16, 37, 86, 96, 150; 4.45, 60, 77, 78, 81, 83, 91, 98, 102, 105, 118; 
5.9-10, 40, 65, 102; 6.3, 37, 39, 57, 137, 139, 164, 197, 206-7, 208-9), 
Agrippa is cited for distances, dimensions, occasionally political boundaries 
(from his notes as a map-maker:  see Dilke's informed comments on M. Agrippa 
in _Greek and Roman Maps_ ).  There are no instances in Pliny where Agrippa 
relates material of ethnological interest such as the passage on the Essene 
lifestyle.  It's doubtful, from what is known of Agrippa's work, that it 
contained ethnological comments of this type.  These considerations make it 
extremely unlikely that Agrippa is Pliny's source.  The identification of 
Pliny's source is a very important question, however.  

     Best regards,
     Russell Gmirkin
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